22 Firefighter Convention Attendees Injured in Saturday Night Building Collapse
Wildwood, NJ — An annual convention of firefighters at the Jersey Shore turned into a mass casualty scene on Saturday night Sept. 14th when at least two decks on a three-story rental home collapsed onto each other, said authorities.
At least 22 people were injured, including an unspecified number of firefighters who had come to Wildwood for the annual New Jersey Firemen’s Convention, according to hospitals and local officials.
The front decks on the second and third floors of a seven-unit condominium collapsed like a “pancake,” trapping multiple people, Chief Daniel Speigel of the Wildwood Fire Department, said on Facebook on Sunday.
Nineteen patients were treated at Cape Regional Health System in Cape May Court House, N.J., and discharged, said Susan Staeger, a hospital spokeswoman. She said three of the victims were children.
Three people were transported to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s trauma unit in Atlantic City, Jennifer Tornetta, a spokeswoman for the center, said on Sunday. Ms. Tornetta declined to provide specifics on their conditions.
Ernie Troiano Jr., Wildwood’s mayor, said on Saturday night that firefighters were among those injured.
The Sussex County Fire Chiefs Association said on Facebook that six to eight of those injured were firefighters from Branchville, N.J., or their relatives. The association said that none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.
“At this time we have several members who are injured and will have a road of recovery after this traumatic experience,” the Branchville Hose Company No. 1 said on Facebook on Sunday. “As a group we are thankful we are all alive and held together as one.”
The episode happened two blocks from a popular boardwalk at about 6 p.m. Photos showed a mangled pile of wood and other debris.
Chief Jon Frato of the Branchville Fire Department told the television station WPVI that his leg had been pinned under one of the decks. He said one firefighter grabbed a child and dived into the building before a piece of the deck collapsed further.
“It was just all chaos,” he said.
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Source: NY Times
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